Ashtavakra Gita —
20. Liberation-in-Life

Transcendence of the Self

I am fulfilled.
The elements of nature,
The body and the senses,
What are they to me?
Or the mind?
What is emptiness or despair? (20.1)

What are holy books,
Or knowledge of the Self,
Or the mind,
Even when it is free of the senses?
Or happiness,
Or freedom from desire?
I am always One without two. (20.2)

Knowledge or ignorance,
Freedom or bondage,
What are they?
What is "I,"
Or "mine,”
Or "this”?
Or the form of the true Self? (20.3)

I am always one.
What do I care for freedom
In life or in death,
Or for my present karma? (20.4)

I am always
Without I.
So where is the one
Who acts or enjoys?
And what is the rising
Or the vanishing of thought?
What is the invisible world,
Or the visible? (20.5)

In my heart I am one.
What is this world?
Who seeks freedom,
Or wisdom or oneness?
Who is bound or free? (20.6)

In my heart I am one.
What is creation,
Or dissolution?
What is seeking,
And the end of seeking?
Who is the seeker?
What has he found? (20.7)

I am forever pure.
What do I care who knows,
What is known,
Or how it is known?
What do I care for knowledge?
What do I care what is,
Or what is not? (20.8)

I am forever still.
What are joy or sorrow,
Distraction or concentration,
Understanding or delusion? (20.9)

I am always without thought.
What is happiness or grief?
What is here and now,
Or beyond? (20.10)

I am forever pure.
What is illusion,
Or the world?
What is the little soul,
Or God himself? (20.11)

One without two,
I am always the same.
I sit in my heart. (20.12)

What need is there
For striving or stillness?
What is freedom or bondage?
What are holy books or teachings?
What is the purpose of life?
Who is the disciple,
And who is the master? (20.13)

For I have no bounds.
I am Shiva.
Nothing arises in me,
In whom nothing is single,
Nothing is double.
Nothing is,
Nothing is not.
What more is there to say? (20.14)


* Translated by Thomas Byrom